JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Chase Card Services today launched Ink from Chase, a suite of cards designed for small businesses. The suite includes Ink Bold, Chase's first pay-in-full charge card. Other products in the suite include Ink, Ink Plus and Ink Cash. Chase developed Ink Bold after speaking with small businesses, and many preferred to pay off their card balances every month, says Mike Nagle, Chase Card Services general manager of business card. "There's no interest charged with [the charge card], plus they have the opportunity to get rewards," he says. Chase charges no annual fee for the Ink and Ink Cash cards, and for the first year it is waives the $95 annual fee for Ink Bold and the $60 annual fee for Ink Plus. The cards earn rewards, have online expense-management tools, and come with fraud and purchase protection. Small businesses pay 70% of their expenses with checks, and Chase hopes the Ink cards encourage small businesses to use checks less often, Nagle says. "This is a huge opportunity for us to deliver an innovative payment solution that makes our card more appealing than checks," he says. Megan Bramlette, managing associate at Westbury, N.Y.-based Auriemma Consulting Group, says she found interesting "Chase's unabashed play at being an [American Express Co.] competitor." Nagle responded by saying Chase seeks to compete with any charge card, noting Ink cards are accepted at more locations than AmEx's. Chase's Ink cards also help the issuer better manage its small-business portfolio, Bramlette tells CardLine. "From Chase's perspective, it mitigates their risk because they are offering charge cards. And it isn't news that losses for small businesses have been pretty high lately," she says. "This is a play to take a piece of the pie from AmEx in a low-risk fashion." Meanwhile, AmEx made a big push for its charge cards recently when it launched an advertising campaign touting the benefits of its charge cards over debit and credit cards (CardLine, 9/2). AmEx did not comment by press time.

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